Thursday, May 5, 2011

Climb the Hills

I've been training for a 5K race. Not because I love running. Quite the opposite. I detest the jogging motion. Living by two principles, (1) only run if someone chases me and (2) if I don't run then no one can chase me, I've fared very well over my lifetime, without the nuisance of running.

But then my children and my husband started yammering on about how they thought I couldn't run, meaning I wasn't able, I didn't have the skill or the lung capacity for it. They didn't believe I was capable of running at all. So, in a moment of delirium I vowed to show them.

My vow resulted in training for a 5K race. I don't think this is what people call having the last laugh.

The hardest part of my training has been the hills. Did you know that 90% of the world can only be accessed by going up hill? This fact came as a revelation to me when I found myself on foot looking at what lay ahead and thinking I better go on home the way I came because I'll never master that monstrosity. I even said it out loud: "I'll die before I get to the top of that hill."

Despite that nay saying, loudmouth voice, I dug down deep and discovered the smoldering ashes of determination. I discovered How to Climb a Hill:

Shush the nagging voice telling you that you can't do it and that, even if you can, you don't have to.

Quit looking at the top of the hill or the long incline leading there. Seeing how far you have to go will overwhelm you.

Quit thinking about all the hills waiting beyond this one. There will always be a next hill to climb. It's best to focus on the one at hand.

Make getting to the top your singular goal.

Relax your shoulders, your arms, your jaw.

Put one foot forward and then the other foot, and so on, not stopping.

Concentrate on each step, only one step at a time. Every step toward the goal is a success in and of itself. Celebrate each one.

The process mesmerized me into forgetting about the size of the challenge I had taken on. It made what I thought was impossible for me completely doable. Before, I feared every incline in the road ahead. I would change my route to avoid upward runs. Nonetheless, another hill was usually right around the corner anyway. Try as I did, I could not escape these bumps in my road.

Fear, however, was holding me back from what was waiting on the other side: confidence and accomplishment. Had I never summoned up the guts to get up and go I would have never experienced the thrill of running down the other side. And, oh, what a feeling that is!

TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: What hill is holding you back? What hill are you avoiding because you think you can't climb it? How has this complicated your life and your routines? What's on the other side that you're missing out on because of fear? Today, start climbing that hill, one step at a time. You can do it!

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